Sonoma County holds emergency town hall meeting to address homeless crisis on Joe Rodota Trail

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Tempers were high Friday in Santa Rosa, where an emergency public meeting was held to address a growing homeless crisis. Solutions were discussed, but neighbors are clearly frustrated.

Frustrated Santa Rosa neighbors were sounding off at an emergency town hall meeting. Most live near the now-infamous Joe Rodota Trail, that's become a homeless tent city stretching more than a mile long.

RELATED: Santa Rosa residents raise concern about homeless housing in their neighborhoods

"I'm scared to walk around anymore, not that homeless people are scary but drugs are scary," said one speaker.
"It's a disaster, this is an inferno," said homeowner Stuart Kiehl.

Supervisor Lynda Hopkins who represents the area made no excuses.

"I'd like to start off by talking about something not easy, failure," said Hopkins.

Hopkins says the county, city, and state have failed in this homeless crisis. Supervisors recently voted to spend $12 Million to help re-locate more than 200 homeless individuals.
"We are moving to clear the trail by the end of the month, we will set up emergency shelters, the board of supervisors will vote on locations Tuesday," said Supervisor Hopkins.

RELATED: Sonoma County declares homeless emergency along popular public trail

Sonoma County is also looking at buying a house on Davis Street and two others and turning them into homeless shelters.

Some are concerned about establishing shelters in existing neighborhoods.

But others say it's the best solution out there so far. Homeless advocate Louise Richardson says shelter first.

"To me, shelter first means getting people off the ground and get them into something that has a door that closes," said Richardson.

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